Forty people have been killed by a lover or spouse this year, down from 66 at the same point last year, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said during a speech promoting Kathleen O’Reilly, current commanding officer of the Domestic Violence Unit, to deputy chief. The trend relieves last year’s 19% increase from 2010 domestic killings, which prompted an announcement from Kelly that 32 sergeants had been assigned to domestic violence cases. 2011 experienced the highest number of annual killings by a lover or spouse since 2002 with an aberrant 92 deaths, according to annual reports from the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. 2007 held the lowest annual number with 48 deaths, with most years reporting around 65 deaths.

(Photo: olly/Shutterstock)